Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes

My last Sunday Gratitudes for 2008.

I'm grateful for my testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that without Him, I am nothing. It is through him where I receive my strength. Because of Him and His sacrifice, I will be able to live with my Heavenly Father again. He knows every single one of my strengths and my weaknesses...and He loves me. My goal in 2009 is to learn more about Him and grow closer to Him.

I'm grateful for my courteous Firstborn son. Today I watched him jump up to open a door for a man whose arms were full of a wiggly, screaming child. My son wasn't supposed to be manning the door at church today. He was helping to pass the sacrament. I watched from my seat behind the pulpit (I sit there when I am not conducting the congregational hymns) as my son noticed this father and child head up the aisle and moved over to the door in order to help. I know its just a small thing. But it was one of those moments where I realized that Firstborn will grow up just fine.

I'm grateful that we are all healthy, happy, and home. That gratitude is in my prayers every single night.

I'm grateful for the high school friendships I've renewed in the past week. I was a drama geek way back in the 80's. My closest friends were part of that group. It has been fun to reconnect with them.

I'm grateful for one of the men in my ward. He asked The Love Magnet if she was ready to be the hymnbook girl again. For the past few months, my daughter (and also Thirdborn) have been helping him put hymnbooks on the folding chairs in the overflow of the chapel (our ward is so huge we fill up all three overflows). The Love Magnet loved being asked and knew exactly what to do. I am thrilled that someone else was taking the time to teach her how to give service. (During that time I am setting up in front and making sure the hymn numbers are in place.)

I'm grateful yet again for all the patient Primary teachers and Sunday school teachers my kids had this past year. Next week they will have new teachers. I hope we get to meet them before Sunday so The Love Magnet doesn't get stressed over the change in her schedule.

I'm grateful for all the friends I've met through this blog. One of these days I will be able to met you in person and give you a hug with skin on it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Morning

Impatient to come down the stairs....

Doggie Girl is impatient, too....

Secondborn wasn't sure why he was receiving cologne. He wanted to know if girls liked that stuff.

The Love Magnet wanted to help Thirdborn unwrap his presents.

She also tried to help Firstborn unwrap his.

Firstborn loved his BYU hoodie.

Mr. Wonderful loved receving a subscription to MIT Review.

The Love Magnet is ready to open her own doll hair salon.
D'ya think Thirdborn is happy about this gift?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve at Auntie M's

The Love Magnet loves Auntie M's mashed 'ta-toes almost as much as she loves Grandma's mashed 'ta-toes. She ate three helpings.

Secondborn was asked to be the donkey this year during the traditional re-enactment of the story of the birth of Christ as told in St. Luke. Secondborn came up with a fitting costume.

Mr. Wonderful chatting with Auntie M.

Santa came to visit! The Love Magnet eagerly waited for her turn to sit on his lap. As soon as she got there, she started to cry. When asked what was wrong, she said that he didn't give her a chocolate like he gave to the other kids. Forget all about telling Santa what you want, the best part is the COCOLATE!

CHOCOLATE!!! Oh thank heavens. That was all she wanted. She was done and ready to get down. The Love Magnet did remind Santa that he already came to visit her at the special ed room at her school.

Thirdborn announced that he was too big to sit on Santa's lap. He refused to go over until Firstborn and Secondborn said that they weren't too old to be with Santa.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Secret Santa with my Cookies (the women, not the holiday treats)

There is a group of women I have known for 5 years. Most of them I have never met in person.

We refer to ourselves as the Cookies. Originally brought together to swap healthy recipes, we've become so much more to each other. These women are all kindred spirits in the very best sense.

For the past four years we've had a Secret Santa swap (something that some of the Cookies have admitted that they look forward to more than any other present. The gifts in the past have been often hilarious, sometimes very touching. Last year I received from Chrissy a hand-knit wrap that I refer to has my "Chrissy Hug". The year before, cookbooks from Cape Cod from sweet Claudia. Claudia passed away this year after a brave battle against cancer. I will miss her dearly.

This year Chris in PA drew my name. She knew about the tea parties and my hunt for tea things. Chris told me she scoured antique shops looking for the perfect teacup and saucer to add to my collection. I love this! This teacup will be for me. Along with the teacup, Chris sent me the Heinz Field Cookbook filled with tailgating recipes. I mentioned to the cookies how I loved collecting regional cookbooks on my vacays. This particular cookbook will be fun to use. Now I have to plan a football party. (Not to mention I have to learn how the game is played so I can actually watch it. The Cookies know all about my sports gaffes in the past. They still love me.)
Thank you so much, Chris. I P2H you to the Nth power! xoxo

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Scarehaircare's

Happy St. Lucia Day
(and a big hug to Miss Morgan - I think of you fondly every year at this time)

Merry Christmas to you all
(we hope your holiday is filled with love)

Sunday Gratitudes (on a Tuesday)

Today as I was leaving the local Costco parking lot, I saw a woman begging on the corner. Her sign said that she was a single mom supporting two kids. All she was asking for was food. I've seen plenty of people begging for money - I have never seen anyone begging just for food.

I stopped on the side of the road and pulled out 2 gallons of milk, a box of canned pineapple, and a box of canned black beans. As I was talking to her she told me that she could either pay the electricity bill or buy food. She chose to have heat in her home. It turns out that one of her children is a daughter the same age as The Love Magnet. I pulled out a gift I had just bought for TLM and added it to the pile. I wished her a Merry Christmas and drove off. I was in tears all the way home.

Here is my single gratitude - that Heavenly Father put this woman in my path today. I spent all morning with my head full of lists to get done and feeling sad that we can't make it to Utah to spend Christmas with our family. I left that woman with my heart thankful that we have employment, a home with heat, food on our table, and money for Christmas gifts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I ask you - how on earth can we keep a straight face?

(The following is a prayer given at dinner last night by The Love Magnet)

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for our day

Thank you for our food

Thank you for Christmas....DON'T TELL!

Thank you for presents......DON'T TELL!

Thank you for book......DON'T TELL! (the book is a Christmas present she made for Mr. Wonderful and me at school. We're not supposed to know about it yet.)

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I fully believe that Heavenly Father was at least smiling during that prayer.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12 Great Things About Secondborn in honor of his 12th birthday

Secondborn and two of his favorite cousins
1. Secondborn is smart. He loves school and learning new things.
2. He is very self-disciplined. I never have to worry about him doing his homework as he gets it done on his own. He is constantly making goals and working on them. He prepares in advance for tests.
3. Secondborn sees the good in people. He is a loyal friend and will look for everyone's strengths.
4. He is kind. He will seek out anyone in need of service or a friend.
5. My son is grateful. He never fails to thank me for a ride, a meal, or for helping him in any way.
6. Secondborn is patient, especially with The Love Magnet. He helps her with homework, with the computer, and with anything she asks of him. I noticed today one of the ways in which that patience paid off. I taught my daughter's Primary class today. When class was over, and all of the children were waiting for their family members to pick them up, The Love Magnet proudly told her classmates and me that she was waiting for her brother. When Secondborn came in, she jumped in his arms, totally content to be there. I pointed out to him that she had been waiting for him and did he know to come? No, he didn't, but he was sure pleased that she singled him out.
7. Secondborn is good at basketball. He consistently scored half of his team's points every game this season. He has worked hard at improving (one of his goals) and spent a lot of time with Mr. Wonderful at the church gym after Scouts, practicing his techniques.
8. He is a good example. A few of his friends have quit swearing in his presence after he told them it wasn't cool.
9. He loves to read. All he wanted for his birthday were books. I have to check his room before I go to sleep because he reads late into the night. How can I get mad at that?
10. He loves his extended family. His favorite thing about trips to Utah is seeing his favorite cousins.
11. He has a surprising love for cooking. He really enjoyed the home economics (not sure what they call it now) class this past term and came home with a few recipes. Now he wants to help out in the kitchen more. I'll encourage that. He has mastered spaghetti sauce without a recipe. He loves to make pull apart sticky rolls and Orange Julius. Time to learn how to make pizza dough. After that we'll start on Sunday dinner prep.
12. This kid loves the gospel. He has asked if he could teach the Family Night lesson tomorrow. I'm not sure what it is: Aaronic priesthood, a scripture story, something about Christmas? I"m looking forward to having my 12 year old son teach me.

Sunday Gratitudes

On December 6th, Thirdborn was baptized. I am grateful that he was ready and understood the importance of this ordinance. Thirdborn was so excited for this day.

The next day, Secondborn was ordained a deacon and received the Aaronic priesthood. I'm grateful that he, too, was prepared and understood the importance of this day. I'm thankful for the family members who made the trip to our house for the baptism and deacon ordination. I'm so grateful for the worthy priesthood holders in our family Mr. Wonderful's dad was there. My daddy was there. Two of my brothers, a brother-in-love, and one of Mr. Wonderful's brothers were there with their families. We had a houseful. It was a good thing.
The Love Magnet monopolized her cousin R. I think R has the patience of Job. My daughter would not leave her alone the entire weekend - they colored, played with dolls, watched movies, and a host of other girly things my daughter never gets to do in a houseful of boys. I'm afraid I relied too much on my darling niece. She kept The Love Magnet occupied so I could get other things done. So here is a huge heartful of gratitude to my darling niece R for being so patient and loving with my daughter. You are going to be a great mom someday.
I also have a huge amount of gratitude for my Mom, Mother-In-Love, my Twin Sis, and my Sis-in-Love who spent the weekend helping me, counseling me, and at one point listening to me bawl (the weekend was uber overwhelming with one final down and one the following week and three the week after on top of two birthdays, a baptism and a deacon ordination to plan). I'm overcome with their love, generosity, and completely un-judging attitudes.
I'm grateful that we could take Secondborn to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead. Mr. Wonderful's parents are huge family history buffs and love to do research. They brought enough family names for Firstborn, Secondborn, myself and them to do 10 names each (Mr. Wonderful did the baptisms while we stood proxy.) I love to go to the temple. Its even better with my children there. I look forward to the day when all of my children can be in the temple.
Tonight was our Stake (multiple congregations) Christmas Hymn Sing - a time where each ward (congregation) sings one of the songs they have prepared for their ward Christmas program. Our ward performed a song called "For Unto Us Is Born." Its a challenging piece and one that they thought they couldn't do. We worked hard on it for months...and it sounded beautiful tonight. I'm grateful for the support of my choir members and their willingness to use their talents and work hard.
I'm grateful for this opportunity to go to school. Its much harder than I thought it would be. I've loved it.
That being said - I'm grateful that there is a break coming up. I need it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Doing the Snoopy Happy Dance

I know I've been absent a lot and I missed Sunday Gratitudes. 'Tis the season of finals. Two so far and three more next week.

I just had to announce that I EARNED AN 'A' on my anatomy & Physiology lab final. Combine that with my lecture grade and it might actually be decent. I also aced my Psych final.

Later on tonight I will post 12 great things about Secondborn in honor of his 12th birthday. I and I can't forget Sunday Gratitudes from last week because it was doubly important.

Be back tonight.

(still doing the Snoopy Happy Dance. I'll be this feelings lasts all day......)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Soup Recipe

Chunky Potato-Crab Chowder
from Cooking Light, October 2003

This easy New England-style chowder lets the red-skinned potatoes shine. Cream-style corn is a surprise ingredient that adds a little sweetness and contributes to the creamy texture.

My notes: Big hit at our family dinner to celebrate Thirdborn's baptism. We tripled the recipe and used crab and shrimp. Easy to put together. It was nice to have a seafood chowder that I didn't feel guilty about eating.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
3 1/2 cups (1-inch) cubed red potato (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add potato; sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, thyme, pepper, nutmeg, corn, and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in crab, parsley, and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)CALORIES 265 (23% from fat); FAT 6.8g (sat 3.8g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 176mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36.5g; SODIUM 968mg; PROTEIN 16.3g; FIBER 3.1g Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2003

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thank you, Smith Nation!

Smith Nation graciously offered to send The Love Magnet one of her tea cups towards our tea party collection. She sent two (one for TLM and one for me).
Wasn't that sweet?

8 Great Things About Thirdborn (who turned 8).

(This kids forgave me for forgetting to bring cupcakes to his class for his birthday. In my defense, I was trying to get ready for his birthday party. Thirdborn publicly forgave me before I could ask him to. I'm not including this in the 8 Great Things, but I wanted you all to know just how sweet that was.)
1. Thirdborn is very creative. He is constantly making up stories and plays. He loves to invent things and will often show me drawings or creations he made with toys.
2. Thirdborn is very sensitive. He will find the new kid in class, the boy without anyone to play with, or search out someone who is having a bad day. Thirdborn will then do everything he can to make things better.
3. Thirdborn is a great friend. He constantly thinks about what he can do for others.
4. Thirdborn is an explorer. He loves to try new foods and learn about new cultures.
5. Thirdborn wants to work for the FBI when he grows up. He has a sense of right and wrong and had decided that making the world a better place involves catching the bad guys.
6. Thirdborn is a great big brother. He constantly looks out for The Love Magnet and helps her whenever he can. He reads to her almost every night.
7. Thirdborn loves to cook (hooray!) and wants to help in the kitchen. He is so excited: one of the great things about turning 8 in our house is that he will now learn how to cook spaghetti from scratch. That includes making your own sauce. No recipes allowed. Once he masters that he will move on to other meals...again no recipes allowed. (Yes, I do teach the boys to read recipes, but I think that everyone needs to know how to do a week's worth of meals without relying on recipes.)
8. Thirdborn is SO EXCITED to be baptized this week. He had a great interview with our bishop and gave his answers to Bishop's questions without hesitation. He is prepared to choose the right.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Guess what came in the mail yesterday?

Pictures will be posted tonight.

I'll also post Sunday Gratitudes on a Tuesday.

And 8 Great Things About Thirdborn who turned 8 on Saturday.

(Can you tell that I have two weeks before finals and I'm frantically trying to get the house ready fro my family to visit this weekend? I'm a bit behind on blogging....)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bittersweet Thanksgiving

This is the holiday where I will always miss my Grandma S the most.

This is also the first Thanksgiving that Grandma S will celebrate will Grandpa S in 8 years. My sis-in-love pointed this out to me today while we were standing in the kitchen, reminiscing about food traditions. There are quite a few from Grandma S that I will continue on at my own holiday table.

Grandma always had three kinds of homemade pickles: bread-and-butter pickles, mustard pickles, and crystal pickles (sweet pickles made from tiny cukes and sliced so thin that they looked like crystal). I don't have the recipe for crystal pickles yet (Mom has promised that I can look through grandma's cookbooks). I went to the store this morning to buy bread-and-butter pickles and mustard pickles (sometimes called mustard chow-chow). None. Nada. Just dill and one lonely bottle of sweet. I was so disappointed. Next year I won't be caught without them. I doubt I will make them all myself, but I will have them in my pantry.

Celery stuffed with Old English Cheese spread. This is such a huge part of my childhood food memories. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and quite a few Sunday dinners, this dish would appear on the table. I have been known to scarf the leftovers.
I have to admit that I have graduated from Food Snob to embracing everything homey, homemade, and totally un-gourmet. I've shared with you before that my Grandma was a true salt-of-the-earth woman. Her recipes are the kind you would find it the old ward cookbooks (cookbooks of family recipe put together by various congregations in our church).

Grandma was famous for her Yucky Rolls. They were actually just Parker House Style rolls. My mom uses frozen Rhodes dough, flattens them out a bit, dip in butter and folds in half. then they finish rising and bake. So easy. Sooo good.

The last must have dish is Grandma's Cranberry Salad. Do not leave out the whole orange. Yes, you do have to grind it up, peel and all. Trust me, its good.

I grew up with this sauce. I had no idea that cranberries came any other way. My first Thanksgiving dinner at my in-loves, I marveled out loud when they brought out a cylindrical shaped cranberry sauce mold (at least that is what I thought it was). Mr. Wonderful was embarrassed. Mother-in-love looked at me strangely when I asked her where she found a gelatin mold of that shape. Mr. Wonderful took me to the kitchen to show me the empty can of cranberry sauce. I wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there, thinking that his mom must hate me.

So I give to you the recipe for my Grandma S's Cranberry Salad. Don't wait until next Thanksgiving to try it. Be sure to try it on a leftover turkey or chicken sandwich. I have also been known to scarf all leftovers of this.

Grandma S's Cranberry Salad

1 large pkg cherry jello (I use cranberry)
1 Cup water
1 pkg fresh cranberries
1 Cup sugar
3 apples (granny smith or golden delicious) Core, but do not peel. Grind up
2 oranges Grind up peel and all. I usually chop into eighths and use the grind
button on my blender.

Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add the cranberries and cook until they pop. Stir in jello until dissolved. Add apples and oranges. Chill until firm. (Sorry, when I originally posted this I forgot the cranberries. I just added it today 11/28. If you want, you can cut the cranberries half and cook them before adding the jello.)

You can add nuts to this.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Start the hunt!

After hosting my first tea party, I've been thinking about how to do it right. Today I started the hunt at a local antique mall. Unfortunately, every teacup and saucer I loved were over $60.

While I was there I started noticing the fancy hats, gloves, spoons, pots, creamers, and sugar bowls. I started feeling like a little girl again...the one who loved tea parties and dressing up. Now that I have a base knowledge its time to really start hunting. I'll be scouring antique stores and secondhand stores for tea things and proper "tea wear".

I will have to ask Mr. Wonderful to either build or help me figure out a way to store or display said items. Tea things are not the normal way I decorate (not flowery, frilly, or chintzy) but I am so looking forward to starting this collection.

Especially the gloves and hats. I love gloves and hats. Never wear them. Just adore them.

Still collecting recipes. If you know of any good ones, please send them my way. I will have my mom, mother-in-love, and possibly nieces over in two weeks and I'd like to do this again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes

No posts this past week. The week before Thanksgiving Break is notorious for being overloaded as professors cram things in before the final weeks of the semester. I had a Persuasive speech due in Comm (which I nailed thankyouverymuch!), art exam, really difficult exam in Anatomy & Physiology, and exam in Psych. So....

1. I am grateful that the week is over, exams are done, and I can enjoy this coming week off. What will I do with it? Write some extra credit art papers and one 10 page APA format paper for Psych (and hope he will accept it for extra credit. I am borderline for an A and I want to make sure it will be an A). I will also study math in prep for the math placement test and start studying for the Humanities CLEP test (so I can test out of it). All this in prep for hopefully getting my Associates of Science after summer term and being accepted into my major come fall.

2. I'm grateful that all the kids are over their colds (at least for this round) and we can have a healthy T-day.

3. I'm grateful for that Mr. Wonderful has a stable job and we have sufficient for our needs. We've been hearing stories from friends and neighbors who are struggling in this economy. The news reports that more people than ever are requesting assistance from food banks. I have seen more people begging on the side of the road. The stories of people needing help increase every day.

4. I found out that my southern grandmother is coming for Christmas! Actually, she isn't coming here, she will be in Utah with my parents. I am so grateful that I will get to see her over Christmas (if the traveling weather cooperates). I am thrilled to pieces over the prospect!!

5. Thirdborn had his birthday party yesterday. Miniature golfing and a pizza lunch. Thirdborn decided he wanted doughnuts instead of cupcakes so we bought a dozen and stuck candles in his. He is so excited to be baptized, be a Cub Scout, and be old enough for sleepovers. I'm just grateful that I survived hosting the birthday party. (I sure hope I survive hosting the one coming up for Secondborn in December.)

6. Yesterday it started to snow. Cold, wet, slushy snow. It wasn't much fun to shop in, dragging two kids along, and furniture shopping, too! Yet, I am grateful for the snow and hope more comes along so we won't be in a drought. That, and my boys are so excited for snowboarding/skiing season. Mr. Wonderful has plans with some of the ward dads and sons for frequent trips to the local ski resort.

7. I'm grateful for my T-21 Buddies (see the link list to the right). These are the people I go to when I have questions or I just want to be understood. They get it. We celebrate all successes and marvel that we wouldn't know each other if it weren't for the extra chromosome in one of our children. These families are my heroes.

8. Now to share one of those successes. I am so dearly grateful that The Love Magnet read 10 sight words this week at school! O Happy Day!

9. My Aunt and Uncle are coming for Sunday dinner. Maple Roasted Pork Loin, Streuseled Sweet Potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon and onion, raspberry jello, and a Gingerbread Trifle with Eggnog Custard, banana, and oranges. I'm grateful for good food and good company. I'm really looking forward to tonight.

10. As usual, I am grateful for the Sabbath day. No schoolwork. No housework. Just worshipping my Heavenly Father, singing his praises with the choir, and enjoying quiet times with my family. I love Sundays.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tea Party Pictures

What do you do when you can't fathom paying $25/person for a proper tea at the local teashop? Your do it yourself.
Spending $35 for groceries was much better than paying $150 (not including tax and tip).
The Love Magnet is ready for some Girl Time...

along with the cousins and Auntie M.

Don't forget me. (My hat courtesy of the cousins. Thanks, cousins!)

Cucumber and mint sandwiches. Cream scones with lemon curd or currant jam and clotted cream. Cadbury chocolate biscuits. Fresh fruit. Treacle cake (which everyone was excited to try because we learned about it from reading Harry Potter). Huge thanks to Auntie M for supplying the teapot and cups and helping to put the food together.

The Love Magnet wasn't sure about herbal tea or cucumber-mint sandwiches. She went straight for the Cadbury Chocolate Biscuits. She definitely takes after her chocoholic auntie aka my twin sis.

The Cousins were great at practicing proper etiquette.

The boys were at school. We had to take one more picture when everyone came home. They were quite happy to eat the leftovers.

Huge gratitude for sweet cousins. Thanks for coming to visit!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Calling Dr. Teeth

The Love Magnet is very aware of things going on in her classroom. She is determined to be treated like everyone else and doesn't want special consideration. When the class has a spelling test, my daughter insists on doing it as well. (If her aide helps her with sounding it out, she can spell as well as the class. Oh, yes, she is smart.) The Love Magnet also wants to do math, write sentences (although it takes her too long, in her opinion, to copy the sentences from the board so she makes up her own), and even do homework just like her classmates.

We've run into a wall of sorts. I can't fix this problem and it won't fix itself in The Love Magnet's time frame.

My daughter has noticed that all-important rite of passage that happens to first graders. She has witnessed her friends losing their teeth. When a tooth wiggles and pops out, the class celebrates and the toothless-ninny gets his/her name on the tooth poster. Its a very big deal to a first grader.

Its a Very Big Deal to The Love Magnet.

Kids with Down syndrome do lots of things differently. That includes the fact that all milestones happen later than usual. When it comes to teeth, kids with Ds have a longer wait for their baby teeth to appear. They often appear in the wrong order. It seems to take forever. It turns out that the same rules apply for losing teeth. It takes much longer for it to happen and it will happen in the wrong order. Which means The Love Magnet will probably start losing her third grade.

There are no tooth posters in third grade.

Oh the agony!

The Love Magnet has taken matters into her own hands. She told her teacher she lost a tooth. Unfortunately there was no proof. When TLM realized that Plan A wasn't going to work, she quickly opted for Plan B.

She asked her teacher to pull her tooth. Please.

She asked her aide to pull her tooth. Please.

She asked me to pull her tooth. PLEEEEAASE!

Now The Love Magnet wants to call Dr. Teeth, my Brother-In-Love and our former dentist in Utah. ("Dr. Teeth" is the name bestowed on him by TLM because she couldn't say his name.) She just knows that he will help. After all he counted her teeth. He brushed her teeth. He took pictures of her teeth. Surely he could pull her teeth. See the logic?

The Love Magnet waits for someone to pull her tooth. Any tooth. She wants her name on that big tooth poster.

This tooth. Just in case you weren't sure.

Its going to be a very long wait.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes

1. I'm grateful that Thirdborn had his baptism interview with our bishop today. I wasn't able to be there (The Love Magnet had an accident and had to be taken home and change her dress). Bishop said that Thirdborn knew all the answers and that he did great. Hard to believe that in a few more weeks my youngest son will be baptized.

2. I'm grateful that I have had no more chest pain this past week. I feel great. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and my first run in two weeks.

3. Mr. Wonderful has been helping me study for an upcoming exam (essay questions) all about macromolecules. I've been struggling, so Mr. Wonderful took it upon himself to start with elementary organic chemistry. He's helped so much (and not once has he lost his patience with me when I couldn't answer a question. He said that he would probably do the same thing if he took a music theory class.)

4. While we're talking about Mr. Wonderful, we went on our first date in over a month. Our weekends had been consumed with illnesses, exhaustion, or someone needing his help. No barriers to date night this week. It was great to get out. There weren't any movies we wanted to see, so we drove around looking at houses, talking, and then ended up at a new-to-us local Italian place. The food was great (score!) and the restaurant was quiet with great ambiance (double score!) I love supporting local restaurants (as much as I dislike chain places). We had our server box up dessert which we ate at home while watching a video. It was so good to get out and spend time together.

5. I'm grateful for teachers. I met with the teachers of Thirdborn and The Love Magnet this past week. The ideas they have to help my children have been wonderful. The kids love to be in their classrooms.

6. I took my three younger kids to the Art Museum yesterday. The exhibit we went to see closed two days early. Instead we wandered around the museum. Secondborn has started an art class at his school and was very interested in looking at exhibits. I need to take him back without the youngest two children so I can enjoy it more (I was more concerned in making sure they didn't touch things they shouldn't). I see a future date with my son.

7. Firstborn had State swim meet this past weekend. Although he didn't qualify to be on first string, he still swam and did great. I got it on film. I'm grateful that he got involved in something this year. It looks like he wants to train with the local community team now in order to be ready for next year.

8. Secondborn's team won their first basketball game this past weekend with Secondborn scoring more than 1/3 of the points. He was happy and I was so excited for him. I'm grateful that he is enjoying this.

9. I'm grateful that most of my Christmas shopping is done. Gotta figure out how I'm going to hang the outside lights.

10. I'm grateful for quiet Sundays and church. In the lessons each week I always find something new to me, or something that I can improve on about myself. There is such a spirit of love that I find among the sisters in my ward. These women amaze me. Each of them has such a strength that I often wonder they even know about themselves. I love being with them ever Sabbath.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Go ahead and hate me.

My Christmas shopping is half done. I need to figure out whom my family is gifting out of the sibs (we draw names to exchange gifts) and figure out what to get for the parents. The kids are mostly done (rather easy since all Firstborn wants is GCs).

I have decided on the neighbor gifts this year, thanks to The CompleteLee Blog (Mama Rika just so happens to be one of my college roomies way back when). The recipe for Warm Cinnamon Milk was tested today and declared a very big hit. The Pepparkakor recipe looks yummy. The two will be paired together (per Mama Rika's suggestion) for neighbor gifts.

Christmas decorating at my house is contained to one room so I will be done uber fast this year. The boys will take care of the outside. Mr. Wonderful and sons will be building me a tiered table this year for the Christmas Village which will reside in the entry.

If I start addressing Christmas cards on Sunday (and every Sunday until Thanksgiving weekend) I will be ready to mail out the cards December 1st. That reminds me, I still need to call Julie to get our family picture appt.

St. Lucia Day will be celebrated December 12th this year to work around my own school schedule. The dough can be refrigerated overnight (remember, I make orange rolls. Not traditional but I don't care.) and baked in the morning. Only two classes to bake for this year. At least I think so.

I know you really don't want to hear about Christmas yet. But I passionately hate shopping in the stores at Christmas (Oh, the crowds! Oh, the Gimmes!), I hate running around like crazy trying to fit everything into one season. I have a streamline plan that I follow most years. That way, on December 1st, all I have to worry about are finals, and attending a party or two. Hate me all you want. I'll be the one with my feet up, wearing comfy pjs, showing no stress, and drinking warm cinnamon milk.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Did you?

I Voted! Pictures, Images and Photos

Strange: I don't remember ever voting where I had to fill out the ballot as if I were taking the SAT. That was also one smallest "things to vote for" I have ever seen. Not many people beyond the presidential office, local senate race, a bunch of local judges, state university board election, and one tax item.

Cool: While I was registering, a kid who looked barely old enough to vote came in with his two buddies who were already wearing their "I Voted" stickers. He told the women at the desk that he wasn't going to vote until his friends convinced him to do it and gave him a ride to the polling station.

Almost Convinced: that Election Day should be a national holiday so people can get out to vote. While talking to my fellow students today, many were not voting because they had class all day until late tonight. Of course, there was early voting available. They had their chance. Like I said, I was almost convinced.

Relieved: that after today we will be rid of negative campaign commercials.

Ready: to put on PJs, make popcorn and hot chocolate, and sit down to watch the election results.......or watch a movie while occasionally changing channels to watch election results. Too bad I have class tonight.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes (on a Monday)

1. One year ago yesterday we adopted Dear Sweet Doggie Girl. I was not a pet person. This whole adoption idea came about because a special educator told us that it would be good for The Love Magnet. The boys were excited beyond belief at the prospect. Well, one year ago TODAY I fell head over heels in love with Dear Sweet Doggie Girl. She is the first to greet me when I get home from school. She loves to be my running partner. When I came home from the hospital last week, DSDG parked herself on the floor by my bed and would often get up to lick my hand. We guessed she was checking up on me. When I would wake up from a nap, DSDG had somehow gotten on my bed and snuggled herself between me and the 4" of bed left before the edge of the mattress. She helped Mr. Wonderful take care of me that day. Heavenly Father blessed us the day she became part of our family.

2. MY PARENTS ARE HOME!!! (I won't get to see them until Thanksgiving. But I did get to talk to Mom last night.)

3. I just found out today that if:
a) I test out of a humanities class (very doable)
b) I test into a 127 level math class (I'm not too sure about that but Mr. Wonderful said its definitely doable b/c he will tutor me.)
c)get the university to approve an astronomy class credit from a previous school

that I can earn my Associates of Science degree after summer semester AND apply to enter my major for fall '09. That is one year ahead of schedule!

4. I'm grateful that our family makes such a concerted effort to get everyone around the table at dinner. It is rare when it doesn't happen. I love how my kids try harder to get along during conversation. I love how The Love Magnet reminds everyone to keep their elbows off the table. I love how Mr. Wonderful has taught all the kids to thank me for the meal before they ask to be excused.

5. I'm grateful for the friendships I've made at school. They have noticed my absence this past week.

6. I'm grateful for my kindred spirit, Gingersnapspice, who knows nearly everything there is to know about literature (and can help my find a book simply from my description of "picture book about clouds and a factory"). Ging is a genius. I loved catching up with her last night.

7. I'm grateful that Secondborn did great in his first basketball game of the season, even if his team did lose. Secondborn made half of his team's points. He did awesome.

8. I'm grateful that we could come up with last minute costume ideas that turned out to be a lot of fun for the kids.

9. I'm grateful that I have half of my Christmas shopping done. I should finish right before Thanksgiving.

10. I have to show gratitude to my professors for not making my life miserable for missing last week. They have all been good to help me keep my grades without penalty.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

For my brother Nate...Top this!

My result for How good of a Calvinball player are you?...:

Your Grade= A+ Good knowledge and excellent strategy!

Amazing. You are part of the 4.3% of the population that landed in this category.* You know the game and its history well, and you did amazingly well when it came to playing Calvinball strategically.

This suggests that you probably have a natural talent in Calvinball. You have learned that the trick to doing well in Calvinball is not brute strength, but quick wit. With your natural ability you could go far.

You are definitely already talented enough to beat Calvin. A match versus the quick-witted tiger would be close. I'm going to give you the edge, but his superior knowledge of the game might propel him to victory.

* This is a made up number.

Take the test here.

First time making.....

Red Jello Popcorn Balls
Not too bad for my first attempt

And another picture of The Love Magnet
(she is singing....because she is "da Singer in da Wock Band")
I just knew that would make you smile.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Traditions

My Grandma S made hundreds of red jello popcorn balls every Halloween. Kids came from all over for those treats, even though Grandma lived on a busy street. Parents who had received them as kids brought their own little ones to collect their own Halloween popcorn ball.

I always managed to take my kids to Grandma's house last. She loved seeing the kid's costumes. We'd hang out for an hour as the trick-or-treaters dwindled, visiting Grandma and talking about everything while the kids played with toys or read books to Grandma. When it came time to go home, Grandma would fill a grocery bag full of the remaining popcorn balls for us. Here is where I admit to greed: I would let the kids have one popcorn ball each and horde the rest for myself. There, I said it. I'm greedy. My flaws are many and glaring.

I am missing Grandma and her popcorn balls tonight. I didn't have time to make any so I popped a quick batch of popcorn (using my new Whirly-Pop. You have GOT to get one of these! Have you noticed the ingredients and salt amount in microwave popcorn?) and topped it with butter and cinnamon sugar. I thought that it would at least be sweet like popcorn balls.

Tasted great.

Still craving popcorn balls.

I miss Grandma.

Last night, as I was driving home from swim practice, I started thinking about Grandma's popcorn balls....and soon big fat tears rolled down my cheeks. I told Grandma how I missed her. I told her that I needed the rest of her recipe for Date Pinwheel Cookies (the baking instructions are left out of the family cookbook she made). I told her that Mom and Daddy are coming home and how excited every one was in my family. I think she heard me.

Tomorrow I will make red jello popcorn balls one day late. And I will make sure that my calendar has a Halloween list of things to do next year. Between the decorating and the costume planning (which didn't happen too much this year for obvious reasons - see Wed. post) will be "make time for popcorn balls". I think my kids will like that tradition.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Checking, one..two..three...

The photo journalist slyly zooms in on her target (from the second floor balcony - just trying to test out the zoom on this baby.)
And the oblivious teen is, well, oblivious.
His preteen brother is not so oblivious. "Mom, what are you doing?"

Preteen Secondborn goes back to obliviousness as he shows his love for The Love Magnet. We are all powerless to resist.

The next day....
Thirdborn is Student of the Week, thereby granting him power to invite his parents to lunch. Thereby also granting him power to dictate what is for lunch. Unfortunately, nutrition is lost on him as he requests Mc. D's
The Love Magnet joins us for lunch.
(See the shiner? Yep, I gave that to her. I didn't realize that A) she was behind the door, and B) she is exactly eye-level to the door handle. Lucky for me, The Love Magnet loves to show her shiner to everyone she meets and tell them "Mommy did it.")

Thirdborn and his buddies.

The Love Magnet and one of her many admirers. The Love Magnet is not smiling because she insisted on continuing to chew her french fries.

Finally we get a smile from The Love Magnet and Thirdborn all because Mr. Wonderful is there.

Happy Halloween!